Oklahoma Baptists, as we begin our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) season, I wanted you to hear directly from my good friend, Paul Chitwood, who serves as president of the International Mission Board (IMB). As you pray about participating in this Offering, which does so much to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please consider Dr. Chitwood’s words.
How Southern Baptists will reach a $175 million LMCO goal
By Paul Chitwood, IMB President
The 2020 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® goal is $175 million. That number is significant because 2020 marks the 175th anniversary of Southern Baptists sending workers to the nations.
The annual offering makes up almost 60 percent of the International Mission Board’s revenue and helps to support 3,535 missionaries and their families. Going back to 1888, the year Woman’s Missionary Union launched the offering, Southern Baptists have given more than $4.7 billion through the offering.
Simply put, our organization cannot exist without the Lottie Moon offering and this year’s offering goal is a God-sized goal. We’ve never had a $175 million dollar offering goal and never had $175 million offering. Last year’s offering, the third largest in history, was $157 million. The largest Lottie Moon offering ever was $165,798,000. That falls almost $10 million short of this year’s goal of $175 million.
How do we increase giving by $18 million in the midst of a global pandemic?
Here’s how. We divide it up. We divide the increase among our churches, and there are several ways that we can do that.
There are 47,000 Southern Baptists churches. To increase giving by $18 million will require every one of those churches to give an additional $383 this year. But only about half of Southern Baptists churches give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. So if only loyal supporting churches give, they will have to increase their offering giving by about $780 each.
Let’s divide it up another way. You might know that Southern Baptists are the largest and most diverse protestant denomination in the U.S. Our churches report a membership of roughly 14 million people combined. Divided between that number of people, the $18 million increase would require every Southern Baptist to give an additional $1.29. Again consider that only half of Southern Baptists will give, so their giving increase would need to be $2.58.
Here’s my point: it’s a big goal, but it’s doable! We have the blessing of being supported by tens of thousands of churches and millions of church members. And every one of them, and every one of us, has the capacity to give a little more to see us meet this year’s goal of $175 million.
I am asking that if you have never given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, that you prayerfully give this year for the first time. And if you regularly give, I’m asking that you increase your offering this year.
I believe we can do this. I believe that we can reach record-level giving, even in a year like 2020. I believe because God is leading us and because we are focused on His glory. May Rev. 7:9 remain our vision: a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
For more information about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, visit imb.org.